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Belleek targets US with expansion

BELLEEK Pottery has announced it is to target the American market for significant export sales growth through the setting up of its own direct sales, marketing and distribution operation in Virginia.

For the last 20 years, Belleek has been sold in the US market through a distributor. Now, in a move aimed at expanding the brand's penetration of the tableware and giftware retail sector and at significantly growing sales, the company will be managing its US sales, marketing and distribution functions directly. The new operation, which will commence on April 1, represents an investment of $750,000 (€556,000) in staff and facilities.

Kingspan closer to CRH acquisition

CAVAN-based building materials firm Kingspan said it has part-completed the acquisition of CRH Insulation Europe after the deal was approved by Dutch, German and Irish competition authorities. Completion of remaining elements of the business will take place at the end of this quarter. Kingspan announced the acquisition of the CRH division for €37m last November.

William Hill sales unaffected by snow

BOOKMAKER William Hill yesterday posted robust sales growth in its shops as the poor weather last month failed to deter punters. The company, which has more than 2,350 outlets in the UK and Ireland, said retail turnover grew by 4pc in December and 8pc in the fourth quarter despite the adverse weather leading to 47pc of scheduled UK and Irish horseracing meetings being cancelled and just one weekend of largely reduced football fixtures.

Chiesi pleads guilty to fund conspiracy

DANIELLE Chiesi, a central figure in the Galleon Group hedge-fund insider-trading case, yesterday pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy. Ms Chiesi is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13. Ms Chiesi's guilty plea makes her among the highest-profile figures to plead guilty in the US government's widespread, multi-year investigation of insider trading on Wall Street. She is the 16th person to plead guilty.

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